Pro class - getting more racers in

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Rick Floyd
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Pro class - getting more racers in

Post by Rick Floyd » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:28 pm

Gustavs Gailitis in another thread wrote:Shame that PRO’s were almost 10 (!!!) times less than Am’s and only 43 women…
This is a good time for me to put out an idea I have had - sort of a challenge. I too think there should be more pros, IF we are going to keep the current classes.

What if the top 20 AMs, along with racers who would be in that group if they had enough results, all go PRO next year. We would have more like 30 racers in Pro division races here in the US - and I personally think that finishing, say, 15th in a big Pro field is a bigger accomplishment than winning AM races. We would ALL get better by racing people better than us - nad you all know that our AM results would place us well in the Pros in some races already. There would still be PLENTY of AMs racing, as it a huge class. Kevin Delaney made the jump at the Dixie Cup, and grabbed some podiums to boot!

So how 'bout it?
Robert, Seb, Gustavs, Petr N., Ainars, Justin, Mike D., BP, Stryker, Fabian, Ohm, Pascal (Rookie), Mig, Petr J., Viktor, Christopher, Jaroslav, Sam, CMC, Chris, Guillame, Louis, Jordan H., Joel P., Steve P., Shanon S., Mark H., Silvio, C-Pap, Eric T., Kasha, Lou S., Emrik... you get the idea, and sorry if I left anyone out, you KNOW who you are.

I would love to see the ISSA change so we have to declare a class at the beginning of the year, and race in it, and ONLY score points in that class, so we have true class rankings - for instance, I'm pretty embarrassed to be 5th in the Msaters rankings for 2009. I qualify by age, but I did not race in the Masters class one single time this year. If an event is run using ABC classes or similar, you could still break out the ISSA class finishes for the purposes of ranking, but do the ABC awards at the race. Having said that, I also feel we should either eliminate the classes all together and always use ABCD quali classes, or make it mandatory that all PRIME/MAIN/MAJOR events use the ISSA classes.

-R
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Post by Stephen Lavin » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:46 pm

I think having classes has value; we simply need some guidelines to manage them then a big stick to manage the racers :)

I'm not suggesting 10 classes but something manageable for race days. Maybe this discussion is best for another thread since this is really a huge "Thank You" to Corky and the organizers who helped get data ASAP.

When you see top AMs defeating Pros and, well staying at the AM top, then it makes sense Rick along the lines of your first idea, albeit it "loose", your idea gives merit to some classification. This is also a volume game - more races more points so it goes beyond skill in terms of ranking but it is all about racing within a skill level and ranking within that class.

More Pros are needed IMO. There are a bunch of top Ams that should be with the Pro class anyway. You folks know who you (everyone else does too) are and you're skating great, deserve to be with a better class anyway.

Also, if you declare your class, or be put in it, then skate it for the season.
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:01 pm

The answer is ELIMINATING the "pro" class.

We have no "pros." We have a few skaters racing for beer money and some free equipment from their sponsors. Every once in a while a skater gets someone to pay for a plane ticket.

Sorry, that ain't pro, I don't care how you argue otherwise.

We need "A", "B" and "C" class brackets established for every race through qualifying. No one shows up and declares they are a "pro" and since there's only 13 they get in the bracket while the 40 "Open" skaters are scratching and clawing to not be one of the 24 left spectating. THAT'S a problem.

Until we grow to the point there's guaranteed cash purses in excess of $5,000 paid out to the top six (at least), then "pro" is just ego stroking. If the fast guys want to race for cash, fine: get a hat, put in your cash and decide who gets it. Race promoters should spend their time and MONEY insuring a great race for ALL participants: better parties, better organization and better promotion. If they weren't worrying about making sure $500 was left over for two guys who get in the finals from a bracket of 7 qualifiers then maybe that's the $500 that makes a difference for the whole weekend.
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Post by Ramón Königshausen » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:42 pm

Wesley Tucker wrote:The answer is ELIMINATING the "pro" class.
For me that would pretty much mean goodbye TS. Oh well, glad to be a speedboarder.

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Post by Steve Pederson » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:55 pm

:-)
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Post by Steve Pederson » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:56 pm

:-)
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Post by Jani Soderhall » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:20 pm

Ramon means it'll be boring if TS courses are made easy to suit both AM's and Pro's.

I agree, and I think one reason is the high performance trucks (Radikal, EttSexEtt, GoG etc)are used by all the pros, but not by all the AMs. With those trucks the courses need to be made really tight to make them challenging. Soon I hope these trucks will be commonly available and affordable and then we can have the same courses (again) for everyone. Then, once again, the difficulty can be handled through the control of your speed.

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Post by Rick Floyd » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:37 pm

I would definitely go for one big ranking with no "pro" class. As long as all sanctioned points races are run the same. You would have ABCD with good competitive h2h racing in each class after qualis. Then you could break points out, based on overall finish, for a new class called "OPEN CLASS", and also for Masters/Women/Juniors just based on age/sex. At bigger races, or any race where you had, say, 8 or more masters/women/juniors - then they could race separate brackets. Each racer would still declare at the begininnig of the year what division is thir "points" division, and would only ever receive points towards that ranking, and no other. This si sort of how we do it in USASA snowboarding - we all race together and then class results are broken out for points purposes (used to qualify for Nationals) - then at Nationals we race only in our class.

-RF
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Post by Rick Floyd » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:50 pm

Jani Soderhall wrote:Ramon means it'll be boring if TS courses are made easy to suit both AM's and Pro's.

I agree, and I think one reason is the high performance trucks (Radikal, EttSexEtt, GoG etc)are used by all the pros, but not by all the AMs. With those trucks the courses need to be made really tight to make them challenging. Soon I hope these trucks will be commonly available and affordable and then we can have the same courses (again) for everyone. Then, once again, the difficulty can be handled through the control of your speed.

/Jani
Since I'm sitting at the computer today...what the heck, I'll throw my hat in this ring too. IMO, whatever course is set, you STILL have to be the fastest through it to win. Also, if a course is set tough, and you can't make it, then practice more. That's the way it is in ski/snowboard racing. At the bigger events you would have tougher courses, easier courses at the lesser events. There is absolutley no reason a course should be set so lower level racers can make it at MAIN and MAJOR events - unless you take the time, and/or have the room, to set entirely different courses for ABCD. This latter idea of separate courses would necessitate the racers choosing the AB course or the CD course (or whatever system is used) with the knowledge that choosing to quali on the CD course means no higher finish than the next one below the lowest AB finisher. You could make it so only the top 8 qualifiers in each bracket compete h2h - or make just one bracket per course with the top "X" number of racers moving on to h2h racing, the others get their two quali runs and then sit. That's how it is in snowboarding and nobody complains - and we don't even get to take "training/practice" runs. I never heard anyone say they didn't have a good time because of that - that's racing, that's competition. At the higher levels especially, sometimes you don't get a lot of runs. Heck, you can DQ two gates in on your first run and be out for the day on a single lane race!

-RF
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Post by Steve Pederson » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:47 pm

:-)
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Post by Gustavs Gailitis » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:55 pm

Top PRO Rookies 2008: Bjornstjerna, Klock,Reaves, St. Claire

Top PRO Rookies 2007: Wadsten , Kowalski, Pappas (World champions 2007,2008,2009!!!), M.Hadestrand, Gothberg, Schwippert, Allan

My point: There is always a difference in the level of AM’s moving to PRO – one year it’s great but another majority of AM’s that moved to PRO are finishing in last places…
That’s why maybe the number of them that MUST automatically move to PRO after the season might be 10 or less.

About A-B-C brackets – for me it is hard to understand why rider who is ending 17th (1st in B bracket) gets prizes/title etc. (B bracket winner) if he is slower than other 13 riders (placed 4th-16th) who get nothing.
Just my thoughts in brief ;)


PS -
Steve Pederson wrote:
But even now, at the few races I've been to, the courses for the pros have not been set any more difficult for the Pros. They run the same courses as everyone else. So even with the current PRO class, they are racing the "easy" course.
In Europe PRO courses are much harder than AM courses (especially tight ) showing the difference in skill level ;)
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Post by Aivars Karklins » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:38 pm

I think there is nothing wrong with AM and PRO groups, because if someone wants, then he(or she) can qualify as a PRO at any time! If you eliminate the PRO group then you'll see a lot of racers leaving,because the title itself is what the racers compete for!

AM's are simply not motivated enough to move to the PRO category and there are no rules that don't allow them to stay there for life! The idea that Gustavs has isn't a bad one,nevertheless, I think it's just perfect! :)
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:54 pm

Jani Soderhall wrote:Ramon means it'll be boring if TS courses are made easy to suit both AM's and Pro's.
What's the difference between different courses for pros and open compared to different courses for A and B?

Is it a matter of qualifying? At European races are courses set twice each day, once for qualifying open then reset for qualifying pros then reset for open eliminations then reset for pro eliminations? Is there that much moving around on race day?

If everyone qualifies on the same course, though, and then a more difficult course is set for the pro eliminations, why can't the same be done for A eliminations? The only difference is everyone who qualifies at a much faster speed will run a more difficult course in order to win the race.
Gustavs Gailitis wrote:About A-B-C brackets – for me it is hard to understand why rider who is ending 17th (1st in B bracket) gets prizes/title etc. (B bracket winner) if he is slower than other 13 riders (placed 4th-16th) who get nothing.
Just my thoughts in brief ;)
Well, then that leads me to my original question: why should someone who's a "pro" get into the brackets at 14th place just because there is only 14 pros at the contest? He's getting to compete for no other reason than being in a minority too small to fill a bracket.

Here's a compromise I'll suggest:

If there are not enough pros to fill out a bracket of eight, 16 or 32, the bracket size MUST be smaller than the number of pros attending the race. if there are nine pros the bracket has to be 8. If there are seven pros it has to be four. If there are 23 it has to be 16. No more automatically qualifying just for showing up. If there are only THREE pros then two get to race and one doesn't.

Oh, and before the smart-aleck comment comes up: one pro means there is no race. The promoter should probably refund the pro's entry fee.

As far as prizes are concerned that's up to the race promoter. If someone has 100 prizes and 100 skaters, everybody gets some. If there are four boards in the swag pile and 50 racers then the organizer has the option of deciding who gets what. It may be (like some races over here,) the swag goes from the BOTTOM up to see to it slower less experienced skaters have access to good racing equipment. Whatever, though, I don't want the ISSA to get into dictating what a race organizer has to do with prizes to get a sanction. As far as I'm concerned there can be a race with NO prizes because it's still a fun weekend.
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Post by Steve Pederson » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:18 am

:-)
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Post by Chris Barker » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:14 am

Wesley Tucker wrote:The answer is ELIMINATING the "pro" class.

We have no "pros." We have a few skaters racing for beer money and some free equipment from their sponsors. Every once in a while a skater gets someone to pay for a plane ticket.

Sorry, that ain't pro, I don't care how you argue otherwise.

We need "A", "B" and "C" class brackets established for every race through qualifying. No one shows up and declares they are a "pro" and since there's only 13 they get in the bracket while the 40 "Open" skaters are scratching and clawing to not be one of the 24 left spectating. THAT'S a problem.
I think you are wrong Wesley... and I will throw out some argument for discussion... I'm disappointed that an ISSA leader makes blanket statements about not caring how others might argue his point. To quote you back, "THAT'S a problem"

The sport has been going backwards for several years and eliminating the PRO bracket is another mistake. You aren't a PRO and you seldom attend races so I think my opinion counts for something. Your opinion means less to me each year. You are racing hard from the keyboard and this forum, but not from the street where it also matters. Think a little for once before you spout off.

At a smaller race (say less than 8 Pros attending) the A/B/C All Open makes sense. In 2004 Fluitt and I were the ones that really pushed the whole idea of Open qualifying in the American Cup Series. Many Pros were "caught" in that division and didn't want to be there, but also couldn't really drop back to Open. Hot Open riders were hesitant to move up. The Open qualifying made them all race together. The downside was the creative sandbagging that still exists today (i.e. How purposely slow can I go to make the B bracket near the top, but not the A bracket near the bottom)

When the FCR series ran in 2002-2003 there were generally 16 qualifying spots open for Pro and 16-32 qualifying spots open for Am. If you didn't make the cut, then you didn't race.

SteveP asked how they run things in Europe. In most of the races I have attended their (Paris, Stockholm, Hannover), this is exactly how they still do it. If you are not a top-16 Am then you take your 2 Q-runs and then watch the top 16 Pro and Am battle it out.

With the field quickly narrowed down after qualifying there is time to have two different courses set if necessary. Remember that running a 32-bracket down to 16-bracket takes the same amount of time as running an entire 16-bracket completely, including the consolation rounds.

Sound unfair? Perhaps. When I first started in 2002, the goal was to make the cut. It took a while and newbies either quit or practiced and got faster. I chose to practice and get faster. I didn't expect an easier course and a larger bracket so I could say I got to race.

Racing in the US has been dummied down over the last few years. Each year, our equipment gets better and yet the courses get sloppier. It still seems the normal goal of a promoter is to make sure everyone, even the newbie, can make every course. The point is understandable since most of an organizer's revenue still comes from entry fees.
Wesley Tucker wrote: Until we grow to the point there's guaranteed cash purses in excess of $5,000 paid out to the top six (at least), then "pro" is just ego stroking
Here is why I argue for maintaining the Pro class and making courses significantly more difficult. I have talked to many business owners in a position to throw some money our sport's way. The consensus is that they want gnar, more potential for wreckage, something more extreme. Watching an unskilled "racer" plow cones or DQ is not something they generally want their name attached to, nor is it something that lends itself towards TV or major media.

Donald's idea of running an "invitational" race in Austria where only the top Pro/Am racers were invited was met with lots of hostility. Individuals threatened to start their own race organizations. The invitational idea may be a little new, but the idea of only the top racers performing in the Head To Head Elims is not.

Two seasons ago the ISSA made a bunch of noise about standards for different disciplines, but yet the max cone distance is generally ignored in almost every TS race in the last two seasons. Why? Generally to minimize double-DQs, minimize cone carnage, and "prove" to the spectators how skilled the racers are. What the heck was the max cone distance rule even put down into a rulebook for? Go measure the cone spacing a Hood TS the last 2 years (both Majors). You will find that it did not meet the ISSA rules.

The HS is almost the same. You now use GS board for HS and HS board for TS. Maybe even a DH/SGS board for GS.

Please think a little longer next time before you call for the complete elimination or something like the Pro division...

P.S. The next race I organize will not be an ISSA sanctioned event, but it will have a good prize purse, plenty of technical challenges, more speed, and invitations to the top racers in the world...

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:18 am

I wondered how long it would take to make it about me instead of the issue.

Nine hours.
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Post by Chris Barker » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:13 am

Wesley Tucker wrote:I wondered how long it would take to make it about me instead of the issue.

Nine hours.
Wrong again! My post was not "about you". It was about your proposed solution (from a person in ISSA power) to eliminate the Pro class. Sure there is some commentary directed your way, but it is no way just about you Wesley...

It's taken a long time to get it to where it is today. Is it perfect? No. But with the youthful influx, it is exciting, especially for those young pros. The youth movement probably started with Maysey nipping at Dunn's heals. Then Euro's like Ramon and Marcus, followed by Dominic, Cividino, and Schwippert. Next, in the US, it was the 3-headed COSS machine of JoeMac/Martin/Zak. This last year it was Karl and Louis. Soon it will be Duquette, Seb, and maybe even Collins will move up some year.

Throw all that youth in against the wiley veterans like Mitchell, Pappas, Richy and whoever else wants to throw down with them and it is a very competitive bracket at any given race.

Better yet, set some courses that put those guys on the edge of disaster and let them showcase their skills for the spectators.

Why do you want to mess with that? Because a few fast open guys don't want to move up?

Your solution was that A/B/C should be used at every race. As one of the organizers that started the A/B/C to mix it up in 2004, I disagree.

The A/B/C/Open does not solve everything. No spectators really understand what the B class is. If you want to blow up the Pro division, then you should also consider blowing up the A/B/C and go back to one single bracket that anyone can enter and the top 32 racers get a spot in one single bracket. Whether you call it Pro or Open, I don't care.

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Post by Pat Chewning » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:59 am

Wesley Tucker wrote: If there are not enough pros to fill out a bracket of eight, 16 or 32, the bracket size MUST be smaller than the number of pros attending the race. if there are nine pros the bracket has to be 8. If there are seven pros it has to be four. If there are 23 it has to be 16. No more automatically qualifying just for showing up. If there are only THREE pros then two get to race and one doesn't.
Wes, this already exists. See ISSA rules (Rule 6.1)

Racing brackets shall be formulated as follows. The Qualifying Group size is determined after the
qualifying runs have been made, eliminating all racers who did not receive a qualifying time (after
DQ on both runs):
Qualifying group Qualifying group Head-to-Head
equal or greater than Less than or equal to Bracket size
3 9 4
10 19 8
20 29 16
30 59 24
60 ——— 32


You can see that if 9 people show up, 4 make the H2H finals

19 show up: 8 make the H2H finals...

etc.

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Post by Pat Chewning » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:01 am

I agree with Chris Barker that we should have courses that are dificult enough for the top racers to be truly challenged. I'm sorry we did not achieve that at Hood River last year.

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Post by Joe Iacovelli » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:11 am

Thank you Chris, I'm on the BOD too and I value your opinion as both a racer and an organizer. I'd like the ISSA to be of benefit to you at your race and at Donald's invitational. I would like us to be included, not so much to govern, but to assist. We are discussing how we might make that happen in 2010. I'd like the ISSA be honored to be associated with races, not the other way around.

To the topic at hand, I see benefit in both scenarios, and think it's fun to mix it up a little and see where "Pros" fit when they have to qualify. Canadian Am Seb Leger podiumed in a field of Pros in Antrim. It was interesting to see those results.

I would like to see the BOD and members make a decision though and stick with it. I would also like to see some decision about how one is permitted to be pro/am/master/etc. Should I be, now at masters age, allowed to declare myself however I choose, race to race, year to year? I don't think so.

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Post by Ramón Königshausen » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:33 pm

Pat Chewning wrote:I agree with Chris Barker that we should have courses that are dificult enough for the top racers to be truly challenged. I'm sorry we did not achieve that at Hood River last year.
Dito.

EDIT: I guess it's more common for Euro races to make a difference between Pro and Am TS courses. All the other courses might be the same for everyone. But as long as I can ride my GS board through a so called TS it is not a TS for me. Janis won the Worlds TS 2007 on a GS board. But that course was okay, since it was on a really steep hill most people would prefer smaller wheelbases for control but whoever manages to push his GS board through it will have an advantage.

Another example are all the – pardon me – super boring straight courses on flat with cones spaced no less than 1.80. They are also called hump fest...ehm dry pumping..however.

I think apart from TS it would make sense not to have a Pro class....


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Post by silvio endrizzi » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:34 pm

Dear all, this is my suggestion:

- 2 dynamic classes, one PRO and one OPEN (or AM)

- a limited number of PROS for each continent, for ex: 32 Noth America, 32 EU, 8 South America, 4 AUS.

- automatically at the end of each season the worst pros drop to OPEN and the best AMs move up to PRO, for ex: 10 North America, 10 EU, 4 South America, 2 AUS.


Slalom needs an official, clear, competitive ranking system. The PRO status needs commitment, not only skill.

The OPEN class will help all the others.

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Post by Ramón Königshausen » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:42 pm

silvio endrizzi wrote:Dear all, this is my suggestion:

- 2 dynamic classes, one PRO and one OPEN (or AM)

- a limited number of PROS for each continent, for ex: 32 Noth America, 32 EU, 8 South America, 4 AUS.

- automatically at the end of each season the worst pros drop to OPEN and the best AMs move up to PRO, for ex: 10 North America, 10 EU, 4 South America, 2 AUS.


Slalom needs an official, clear, competitive ranking system. The PRO status needs commitment, not only skill.

The OPEN class will help all the others.
I like this idea.

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Re: Pro class - getting more racers in

Post by Steve Pederson » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:59 pm

:-)
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Post by Derek Yerke » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:32 pm

I like Ricks idea of having the top 20 ams each year automatically move up to the pro class for the following season. It's simple, fair, gives amateurs something to compete for, and adds some sort of prestige to being a 'pro'.

I am newer to the sport but I think completely eliminating the pro class would be a mistake. It allows lower level (am) racers to still put together complete (accurate) scores without attending as many races.

And a Huge Thanks to Corky. V 1.0 looks great!

I just sent the EISF results as well.
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Post by Vincent Tanguy » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:35 pm

Hi there,
I agree too with this system of leagues or divisions where riders move up or down but here is a newbie's idea :
as it seems that equipment plays a major role in TS (and probably in other disciplines), what about doing groups (pro/am or whatever) that take set-ups in consideration ? For example, guys riding foamcore lightweight boards with high-tech trucks (radikal, 161, GOG, etc...) would be in the PRO group and guys riding wood boards with trackers or indys in the AM group.
So no need to own super expensive set-ups in order to be on the top.

It may be difficult to determine a boarder between these groups, but it's just an idea, maybe you can develop it and find something good.


Regards.

PS : thanks for the ranking update, guys !
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Post by Joe Iacovelli » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:03 pm

Anyone have any other sports that they participate in that can help guide us? MT Biking, Snowboarding, Surfing, even golf must have rules about how one moves from class to class.

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Post by Rick Floyd » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:13 pm

Joe Iacovelli wrote:Anyone have any other sports that they participate in that can help guide us? MT Biking, Snowboarding, Surfing, even golf must have rules about how one moves from class to class.
I do, as you know Joe, but I am disheartened by this once again seeming to become a negative online argument fest with no resolution. This needs to be solved off-line. Phone, private email, meeting...I don't know. I am starting to feel like it will never be solved.

And for the record, I did not propose the top 20 ranked AMs "automatically" move up - just suggested that as a guideline, and more of a challenge to racers around my skill level so the Pro class had more racers. There are plenty of racers not in the top 20 because they didn't go to enough sanctioned races who have the same or better skills as those who are ranked there. I'd rather be 16th or 20th out of 32 pros than a top am any day. It would push us to improve, and every sport I have done I have improved by leaps and bounds by racing against the best.

I'm willing to talk, but not online any more, unless it is for informational or social purposes - it just doesn't seem to EVER get us anywhere.

-R
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Re: ranking

Post by Gustavs Gailitis » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:40 pm

Derek Yerke wrote:I like Ricks idea of having the top 20 ams each year automatically move up to the pro class for the following season. It's simple, fair, gives amateurs something to compete for, and adds some sort of prestige to being a 'pro'.
It's not a secret that a lot of AM's (also from the top) DON'T WANT to move to PRO (there are a lot of examples of riders) because of :
Higher entry fees;
Higher possibility to not qualify for Head-2-Head and get high place (not all top 20 AM's can spend a lot of money for expensive equipment and spend time for regular trainings to be competitive);
Lack of motivation to improve if you are beaten by a sec in each run;
etc. :)

As I said, my opinion, 20 AM's moving to PRO is a little bit too much, because I'm in AM group since 2006 and I know the ''desire'' for some of AM's to become PRO one day - we should remember that it's just a hobby for majority of riders :)

PS - I'm trying to picture what would happen if for example rider who is 20th in the ranking don't want to race PRO - if it's not end of the season he can miss a competition (sounds quite stupid, right? ;) ), or if it happens after the season (like now) we just tell him - ''race PRO or go home'' ?!
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Post by Rick Floyd » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:58 pm

Insert foot in mouth - OK, I did say automatically...oh well.

I am leaving this discussion online for good anyway - it always goes nowhere.

Have at it.

-RF
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Post by Gustavs Gailitis » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:20 pm

I started to write my reply, I had a 30min phone conversation and then only I pressed ‘’submit’’, so I didn’t saw/missed your last post, Rick – of course I understood that 20 AM’s was just an idea, nothing personal ;)!

I agree that this discussion might go nowhere, but one thing if the riders who actually compete write something, another when some BOD representatives try to listen to riders opinions and make some rule changes...BOD where are you?! This ''AM/PRO/OPEN/A,B,C'' thing is talked over, but looks like there still isn't any common solution for all races all around the World!
Maybe just make a POLL ?

PS - just my thoughts :)
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Post by Jack Smith » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:46 pm

More pros?

Offer real prize money. However it's not going to come from slalom/skateboard companies. Take a look at vert/street contests, the prize money doesn't come from skateboard companies.

So how do we get our hands on that money...get on TV.
TV equals eyeballs, sponsors like eyeballs. Right now, slalom gets some internet and print coverage, which is really only seen by "slalom enthusiasts". Non-endemic sponsors are not going to pony up any real dough to advertise to the slalom community.


How do we get on TV?
Create Pro only events, or perhaps a Pro only tour with exciting race formats at interesting venues. People want to see the "best". When I held the Worlds in Morro Bay between 2001-2005, every spectator wanted to know, "when do the Pros race?"

If Pro and Open events are held at the same venue/same time, the Pro event has to be the "feature attraction". This would probably mean limiting the number of events/racers in the other classes.

Limited practice time, you come to a race to "race", not practice. On-site spectators get bored with long practice sessions and qualifying rounds and drift away. Small crowds watching the finals don't look good on tv, or any other coverage.

This might even include jumps and other obstacles.

16 racer head to head round.

Courses set by non-competing racers.

Have the ISSA create a bonus for "Series Champion". The Skateboarder's Journal is a small operation, but I'll throw in the first $200 towards this "bonus"

There are plenty of smart folks in the slalom community, by pooling our ideas and energies we can grow slalom. Let's go!

All the best,
Jack

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World Courses

Post by Claude Regnier » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:04 am

Jack exactly what I was going to say. More Pros, more money!

When accepting the role of course setter for the Worlds I took into account the shit that would come with it. Not a problem. I took into account my own personal experience along with input from previous riders that had attended the Hood River races. Anytime, you want a course that the field can’t make let me know. I would be glad to watch more then a few Pro riders flip out because they can’t make a course.

As time allotment does not allow for multiple courses to be set for varying levels of the field the courses need to have a little bit of everything as far skill testing and degree of difficulty.

Here is a partial compilation of some of the cone counts from Hood River racing in 09.

GS/Gybrid best course I could set on a long slope. Most people liked it. I wish (me 1 run) I could have ridden it as per some of the comments from the racers.

Quote from Pat Chewing - I agree with Chris Barker that we should have courses that are difficult enough for the top racers to be truly challenged. I'm sorry we did not achieve that at Hood River last year.

The road we used for Hybrid can be very dangerous in the right conditions. What, 3 broken collarbones in 08. Not the kind of carnage most of this field is looking for. The course had enough tweak in it to keep you one edge. The hybrid course was layed out expecting the worse from mother nature. While your looking at the numbers of cones, Dq,s & clean runs add a percentage left for degree of difficulty.

Anticipation of tailwind, which was blowing all week and was well over 20 miles per hour on Tuesday. The left lane has always been a trouble spot as the heat increases the oil makes it treacherous (Overlook 09 – Austria 06) and dealing with the crown simply make it to risky and unsafe to have big offsets.

Junior Hybrid – Quals – 47 cones – 4 dq.s – Eliminations Round of 8 - 62 cones – 2 dq,s
Round of 4 – 36 cones – should have been 39 as one rider hit 11 but it was changed to 8 for no particular reason.
Round of 4 final and consi – 45 cones - NO CLEAN RUNS HERE!!!!

Masters – Quals – 92 cones – 1 DQ – 10 clean – at their age we should expect at least that much, EH!
Round of 16 – 58 cones – 8 clean – 1 double clean (likely Pirnack)
Round of 8 – 40 cones – 2 clean – Round of 4 – 15 cones – 2 clean
Round of 4 final & consi – 10 cones - 3 clean

Ams – Quals – 60 cones (not counted is the 11 cones miscount by organizers costing a racer placing) – 1 clean – 1 dq
Round of 16 – 59 cones – 7 clean – 1 dq – round of 8 – 29 cones – 2 clean
Round of 4 – 25 cones – 0 clean – round of 4 –finals – 16 cones – 1 clean – 1 dq

Women,s – Qual 36 – 1 clean – round of 8 – 6 racers – 42 cones – 2 dq
Round of 4 7 cones – 1 dq - round of 4 finals – 21 cones

Pro,s - quals – 24 racers - 36 cones – 1 clean – 16 round – 16 cones – 6 clean
Round of 8 -17 cones – 7 clean – round 4 – 4 cones – 4 clean – no double clean
Round of finals – 7 cones – 1 clean
_________________________________________________________________
Cars parked on road until almost 11 am forced the course to be in a straighter line. Pavement and obstacles only allow a course setter to do so much. Oak st. was not in as good shape as the year before. Yet we are lucky we did not get much tailwind…

Pro –TS – Quals – 54 cones – 1 DQ – 3 clean - round of 16 – 6 racers – 30 cones – 3 clean – round of 8 -29 cones – 5 clean – round of 4 20 cones – 1 clean – 14 cones – 0 clean.

Most racers were not going balls out Top to Bottom as the course did not allow for a full on attack. Most racers had several speed checks and acceleration points in order to complete the course with less damage (Cones or DQ).

Chris I never asked for another Pro worlds Championship. I asked if someone was willing to offer an event to represent the other 85% of slalom racers.
Many Happy Pumps!

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Post by Steve Pederson » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:29 am

:-)
Last edited by Steve Pederson on Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Jack Smith » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:59 am

Hey Rick, I was a high jumper also...

Events like the high jump and pole vault can be boring live, but with proper editing you can create drama and excitement.

I still coach the vault, and I know what you mean about being the first to start and last to finish!

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Post by Jeremy Coffman » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:56 am

I'm just going to throw out some ideas that have been going through my head.

I think there should be a plan to move people to "pro" status.
-If you are ranking in the top 5 (or maybe top 10) in ams for more than two years in a row you advance.
-If you are on the podium for the top open bracket at every big race you should advance.
or something like that. Certain levels of achievement that must be obtained to let a racer pass on to "Pro" status.

Is there a set list of requirements or anything for going pro? Or do you just declare yourself? If not I think there should be set rules to going "Pro". Maybe even a petition process to the governing body.

I think the Nationals and Worlds should probably be an invitational event or an event that you must qualify to be able to enter. These events should be a showcase of our best and the entrants should reflect that. Those events should be our showcases. These should be the ones that we push for media coverage.

Maybe on the bigger events should be held over a longer time period. Hold qualifying one day and the actual races another day. This could make it more spectator friendly and give more time for setting different courses. The Pro's would get the best time slot for the day. Now I know we all can't get that kind of time off from work (I know I can't) but it could be something to think about. Maybe take a look at how the X-Games and other like contests go about running their events.

Just throwing that out there.

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Post by Steve Pederson » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:06 am

:-)
Last edited by Steve Pederson on Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:42 am

I know slalom is slalom and other sports are other sports, but whenever I hear discussions about someone being a pro whether they like it or not, three words always come to mind:

Robert Trent Jones.

I know I can't singlehandedly stop a majority from doing what it wants. What I can say is being a "pro" or "open" is a personal decision. If we are going to use such terms as nothing more than labels for racing acumen then that's just "A" "B" "C" racing by another name.

I find a definite corollary between the argument about tight slalom and fast open racers:

• If the tight slalom course is too loose then a skater should be able to go much faster
• If an open skater is really fast and proves to post times as fast as pros, then that's a reflection on the "slow" open skaters in the competition, not a determining factor for a racer being forced to change status from open (amateur) to pro.
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Post by Stephen Lavin » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:18 am

Steve Pederson wrote:I think the ISSA board needs to decide if we are moving forward as a competitive sport or a hobby activity and if it's best to do both combined or separate. That seems to be what is dividing us. Do other sports combine Pro and AM events on the same field at the same time?

Spectators? Some sports are just hard to follow and watch in person. I used to compete in the high jump. Talk about a snooze for the spectator. The high jump was the first event to start and the last to end - at least three hours long - every time. No one but the score keeper had a clue what was going on or who was in the lead.
There just aren't enough skaters, events, and weekends to do both IMO in separate "fields", separate weekends, separate events. Are we really going to expect 10 to 15 pros skating each other all season long for a few hundred bucks at podium/event? That gets boring fast. I cannot entirely agree with you on this one Steve - the board needs to decide I mean. Firstly as much as I love the folks engaged in and with the ISSA it's not for us to decide how anything outside of this organization will be done for slalom - a bit pretentious; maybe this is what you mean. The new board does have the opportunity to properly organize, classify, and segregate better now to 1) add pro count 2) work to legitimize the classes by skill set. Skill sets defined by ability to skate courses at a degree of difficulty and/or time and completeness - avoid too many broken collarbones.

If this cannot be done then split the ISSA into a pro division and Am division with separate boards. The Ams then push skaters up and out; you go pro or, well don't skate with the ISSA or in ISSA events.

Race organizers need money to plan a race. For now that comes from all skill sets a good number of contestants required. Look, there has to be more pro material and more challenging events period. Grow and org the ranks first then split the volumes.

The Ams must be around Pro skaters to learn and to see. Even the Pros in this sport have jobs; I see no hobbies here, just people who want to skate at all levels. Additionally there does need to be Pro only events or invitationals; gotta be. Let the stars shine and draw for the good of the sport.

I'm not done. Another thing; look you can't race pro if you can't skate it. This cannot be a personal decision, it's just too dangerous. Pros need to be either invited, voted, or otherwise determined by skill. The organizing body should be making these decisions at times TBD. Pro around here to me means ability not declaration; damn sure don't mean money LOL.
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Post by Steve Pederson » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:03 am

:-)
Last edited by Steve Pederson on Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Stephen Lavin » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:33 pm

Cool. Stay warm my friend :)
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Post by Rick Floyd » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:39 pm

I had a blueberry muffin and oatmeal for breakfast. Then I read the paper. You know, if anyone wants to know. It was pretty cool. I don't plan to do much now but work. Thinking about getting a cat.
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:04 pm

Get a warm cat. Kill two birds with one pussy.
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Post by Hans Koraeus » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:04 am

I would not be a bad idea that to be an official pro you have to register as PRO for ISSA. Only pros need to register and a pro racer commitee will grant or not the person a ISSA PRO status.

Then a part is up to the event organizers
- To race in a pro class the event organizer could or could not demand that racers have to be official ISSA PRO racers.
- The advantage for the event is to be able to have one class to promote for media and audience. That these are the best riders. Well that should tell by itself also by calling it a PRO class.

The part up to ISSA / Worldranking
- If the plans to build up a money prize for final pro world ranking of the year it could be decided that only official ISSA PRO racers will be able to win this money.
- Registered ISSA PRO racers could be marked in the ranking with a start or something showing who is registered as ISSA PRO.

The system we have now of self selected PRO status is not perfect. But with such an idea as above we also have to accept that racers that are not granted as PRO then has the right to attend AM race. This even if you have been a pro in the past.

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Post by Derek Yerke » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:18 pm

It would be great to have legitimacy added to the pro class as everyone's mentioned

I think something like this could work- All riders currently ranked as 'pro' are granted pro status. Add the top 20 ranked ams at the end of each year, as proposed by rick, and then have 10 open spots that could be applied for by anyone ranked in the top 50. Applications could include things like what races you plan o attending for the season, past season rankings dating back a few years, other top ranked people you beat head to head throughut the season, recommendations from other pros, etc... Ater 4 or 5 years, the pro class could be capped at 200 pros or however many you wanted.

At the end of each season, everyones pro status will be up for review, if you don't have at least 'X' amount of races or 'X' amount of points, you're pro status will be revoked for the following season. If you are accepted, you must send an email to the ISSA stating you still wish to compete as a pro for the following season. There could be a fee attached to being a 'pro' racer like corky mentioned, and anyone can opt out of pro status if they wish. After each season finishes, pro status reviews are finished, and 'opt in' notices are sent, see how many pro positions are open, and award those spots to the top ams and applications.

This would keep a consistent, controllable number of pros. It would also give the ams something legitimate to compete for. If the pro fee was $100, and there was 200 pros, there would be $20,000 a year to compete for, promote the sport, help the ISSA with expenses, and compensate corky and crew a little for their time.
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Post by Neil Orta » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:26 am

Race Day. Bring the best skills you have to offer and you will see at the end of the day how you stack up against the competition. Sometimes it is the skills on the course that prevent a good finish and sometimes it's the skills off the course (gear, mental, physical etc.) that do you in, either way the ability to bring these skills on race day are the true judge of who you are as a racer.

Put thought into the future of the sport and NO ONE can argue the need for a Pro class for all the obvious reasons, most of which are already mentioned above. The main one? Money. It is a draw to get the top racers to come to an event and the pros in attendance give a good response to the sponsors question "what is my ROI?". Amateur classes are where the Pros come from and as with any sport only a small percentage of participants have the skills to make it to that level.

So here is my example of a good class structure: There should be a progression in the classes-Novice, Intermediate & Expert. Read “A, B &C” as we know them in slalom.

Novice classes are a must to capture the interest of those who stumble across the sport and wish to give it a try without having to compete against a whole host of athletes who posses seasoned skills that leave the beginner with no hope of ever "being good enough". We all begin somewhere so there should be a place in slalom for one to begin. As a Novice racer there is one way to move up in class....three events entered. No more. You enter in three events and you are now an Intermediate. If a rider chooses they can skip this class and register as an Intermediate, however once they have registered for an event as an Intermediate by their own choosing they cannot go back. There are no "points" tallied in any way for this class. For comparison of how slalom is currently run read this as "C" class.

Intermediate, where you go after your initial three "Novice" races. This class is where the racers should be "honing" their skills and continue to do so until they reach the podium (#? times) after which they will move into the Expert class. A racer cannot move back into the novice class, ever. A racer may chose to begin in the Intermediate class but once they have registered for an event as an Intermediate they cannot race as a Novice. Read this as "B" class.

Expert class is the next natural progression for the skilled racer where he/she will be competing against the best amateur slalom skaters. The expert racer will remain in this class until they successfully reach the podium (#? times) at which time they will be considered a Pro racer. A racer can elect to begin with this class but once a racer has registered for a race as an Expert they cannot race in a lower class. Read this as “A” class.

The race courses set for an event should be such that they CHALLENGE the pro class in technical difficulty, the ability to navigate the course at speed and with little or no cones hit will show why they are called Pros and offer the lower classes an excellent opportunity to hone their skills. They may have to control their speed to make the course without hitting cones but their time will come, maybe. Courses should not be set so everyone can make them, they should be set considering the level of racers in attendance. No Pros? Set an Expert level course. No Experts? Set an Intermediate course, etc.

Pro Class- These are the best of the best of slalom racers. Being the only class you have to prove yourself to be able to enter it should be a paid class. All Pro classes should have a minimum of 100% payback of entry fees for each event. If an organizer announces a $500.00 Pro purse and collects $600.00 in Pro entries the purse for the event shall be $600.00. Being the most competitive class this is the only class a rider can go “backwards” from. Once a rider competes as a Pro in any event they are considered a Pro rider and must petition the Board of Directors for permission to renounce their Pro status, this decision would be considered final unless the rider can offer the board in writing (5) testimonies of currently ranked Pro racers that the partitioning rider should be allowed to return to amateur status.

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Re: Pro class - getting more racers in

Post by Jani Soderhall » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:57 pm

Interesting reading in a post I just deleted:
john thomas wrote:I agree, and the high performance of freight (radicals, EttSexEtt, by the GOG, and so on) for all professionals, but I think one of the reasons why not all uses AMS. These trucks with the lessons very hard densely is not required. Soon will become widely available and affordable truck and then we can hope that the same lessons for all (again). Then again the problem may be processed with adjustable speed.
I'm not sure you can make any sense out of this, but I decided it was spam and removed the user. But I thought he was pretty clever to pick a word here or there and make some kind of logical content.

Or, is it Google translate?

/Jani

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